The window glass is cold against my forehead, uncomfortable and refreshing, the freezing outside air filtering through the skin to the subcutaneous layer to the bone to the frontal lobe, the chill twisting all the way through to the core. I try not to dwell on what it is doing inside of me but my mind returns to the image of tiny knives ripping apart my viscera, creating little pockets of ice.
There’s always a moment when cold feels like warmth. When your body stops fighting it. We protest the cold at first, focus on how we don’t want it, but at a certain point we start to feel at home in the cold, wrapped up, secure.
They say not to touch cold metals in the winter because our skin is designed to cleave.
But it’s the wind that makes us feel cold. When there is no wind the cold is warm. Calm cold is never the problem. The falling snow is a comfort until the wind picks up and makes the filigreed snowflakes sharp, makes them lacerate our faces, crack the skin on our hands.
It is unstill, that is the problem. Movement is what makes us aware of the disturbance.
The ice gives everything a blue tint. We look slightly more deathlike, in the ice. We look like shadows, a cream blue glow around our eyes and a little around our lips, a little more skeletal, more like the bones that make us. More brittle, easier to crack. We drink more in the ice because it fools us into thinking we are warm, dark liquors that create entropy in our organs, let us keep our coats open, feel cooled by the air instead of frozen.
Ice forces us to slow down. It makes us think about what we’re doing. You have to slide your body forward without your skull crashing down on the pavement, and thus every movement is exactly conscious, not like the regular careless rushing we do to get somewhere when the terrain is safe. Getting somewhere in the ice is work. You have to consider the worth of where you’re going and whether or not it’s better to just stay where you are.
Unlike glass, ice becomes water. It nourishes you in the way only things that can kill you do, on a scale between enough and too much. Like iron. Like sunlight. Like love.
(Being killed by an icicle is a very real fear. I almost got impaled by one that fell off the roof of Katz’s on my way here.)
When I walked with you on the ice I felt warmer even though we were sober. You kept my hand in your pocket and told me the last time it was this cold you walked for three miles and didn’t mind it because you knew that eventually you had someplace to be, and you knew that meant you were lucky.